Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1940) starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson

Usually, I’ll encourage people to read a book before watching its film adaptation, or just read the book exclusively.  I’ve had a very hard time getting my head around Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, mostly because the plot is sooooo long-winded and monotonous, so I did the unthinkable and watched a movie version instead.

I saw the 1940 film adaptation with Greer Garson and Sir Laurence Olivier, two awesome old-timey movie actors – and I wasn’t disappointed.  The things I perceived to be drawn out monotony in the book were condensed to an entertaining pace, and I was better able understand and thus appreciate the story.

Mr. Darcy’s redemption isn’t very convincing, at least in this condensed storyline, and Eliza’s growing attraction to him didn’t fly with me either. (There’s something about these old stories where they take smart, witty, sassy female protagonists and turn them into lovesick damsels by the end. *glares also at Charlotte Bronte*)

I found a few of the more minor characters to be more loveable/relatable, like Mr. Bennet, who plays the foil to Mrs. Bennet’s bizarre (but likely socially acceptable for her time and place) obsession with marrying off her daughters, even against their wishes; and the sister Mary, who seems to be written off as a hopeless case, because she’s this totally adorable, well-read nerd girl. I guess smart, nerdy women weren’t considered attractive at the time. If she were around today, I’d totally be her friend.

Also, Mr. Collins. He’s absolutely hilarious. I can be amused by him from afar, that is – if I knew him in person, he’d probably drive me bonkers.

*Tweet typo correction: “them” was meant to be “the reasons.” “Let me recite the reasons to you, NaNoWriMo style.”

Anyhow, I now know the gist of this well-loved contribution to literature.  The story itself is really quite good and entertaining.  While I still don’t have the patience to read the original novel, I think the experience would be slightly less unbearable for me now that I have a nice understanding of what’s going on.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1940) starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson

  1. Claire B. says:

    This was one of the first version of P&P I saw as a kid. I don’t know that I’ve ever finished reading the book (not very much of an Austen fan) but this movie was fun, if not quite like the book at all. lol! Pretty much everyone else in my family loves her books, so that’s the only reason I know some of them. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Allison Rose says:

      Haha, same here, except it’s my friends who are the Austen-lovers. 😛 Austen and the Brontes tend to get lumped together as old-timey lady authors, but their writing styles and ideas couldn’t be more different, at least from what I can tell. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s